What an amazing time of year: both the farmer's markets and our home gardens are popping with amazing, fresh and flavorful veggies!
Today’s fresh & easy Strawberry Spinach Salad recipe, as perfected by chef Staci Bronson in our very own BITW test kitchen, combines many of those in-season options into a delicious salad, perfect for lunch or dinner on a hot summer day.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
Options, to taste:
BBQ, slow cook, or pan grill your protein of choice. (I love bacon and chick thighs)
While cooking, toss spinach into a bowl and dice up strawberries, cukes and tomatoes.
Top with almonds and cheese.
Allow the protein to cool, or throw it on warm.
Finish with dressing or balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
Up the carb ante with some toasted baguette dipped in balsamic.
~ chef Staci
This week’s #workoutwednesday comes from Race Director and Coach, Blair Bronson.
Grab your bike and take to the hills this week with an over/under threshold workout for race simulation efforts. This workout can be done once through, multiple times through, or as a pyramid.
Working the hills for race simulation efforts.
-15 minutes easy riding
-5x30 second spin-ups with 30 second recover: In an easy gear, gradually spin your legs from a normal cadence to about 120 rpm. Remain seated and focus on smooth rotations. If you feel yourself start to bounce on the seat at a higher rpm, engage your core more.
-5x30 second build with 60 second recovery: Build from slightly over your warm-up pace to just shy of an all-out sprint gradually over the course of the 30 seconds. The minute recover is done very easy with a slightly high cadence.
-Spend a few minutes to get to the base of your favorite (or least favorite) hill. Preferably one that takes you at least 5 minutes to climb.
Main Set: Race pace climbing with over threshold efforts
If you aren’t sure what your threshold is, use your race pace to guide your effort. The “overs” are harder than race pace for the distance you are doing. You should only be able to sustain the “over” pace for a couple of minutes at most.
The main set of this workout can be adapted for the athlete and the race distance by adjusting the duration of the interval, the number of intervals and the intensity of the interval. For this example, we are going to assume the climb takes about 5 minutes to complete. If pacing correctly you should get faster from Climb 1-3.
The focus of this workout is to be able to settle back into race pace after an extra effort is required. When settling back into your race pace see how quickly you can relax and try and bring your heart rate down.
-2min race pace (RP), 30 seconds over threshold (Over), 2min race pace, 30 seconds over
-Descend and recover for 3-5minutes
-90sec RP, 30 seconds Over, 90sec RP, 30sec Over, ~60sec RP or until you reach the top
-Descend and recover for 4-6 minutes
-60sec RP, 30sec Over x however long until you reach the top.
-Descend and recover for 5-7 minutes.
Depending on fitness and training level repeat or use as a pyramid. Those training for a sprint race might do fewer repeats, but the level of race pace effort should be much higher.
Cool Down: ~15 minutes easy riding with a focus on good form and smooth pedal strokes.
Now saddle-up & get after it; we'll see ya out there!
~ Coach Blair
Have 3 bananas and some beer?
Let’s make beer banana bread!
Any beer will work, pick your favorite; same for the bananas. Bonus- the recipe only calls for 4 oz of beer, so you can enjoy the rest while you bake! This recipe perfected in our very own BITW HQ kitchen lab, by our very own chef Staci Bronson. So let's get into some yummy baking..
Beer Banana Bread
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F
Mix together dry ingredients
1 ¾ cup flour
¾ cup sugar
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 tbsp cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Mix together wet ingredients
3 mashed bananas
1/3 cup melted butter
½ cup beer of choice - I used Block15 Gloria!
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients
Drink the rest of the beer
Grease (butter or oil) and flour a 9”x5” loaf pan then pour it all in.
Sprinkle the top with brown sugar
Bake for 55 minutes - check it at 50 minutes with a tooth pick. It should come out clean. Bake times will depend on how hot your oven cooks.
Now, try to make it last 24 hours… good luck!
This week’s S W I M workout comes from Best In The West’s very own RD, Staci Bronson.
Speed in the water doesn’t always come from yards upon yards. Technique is paramount to a smooth, effortless stroke. The less bubbles, splashing and the more you can focus your power on forward motion, the faster you’ll become - even at the same level of fitness.
Today we bring you a swim workout that has a lot of drills mixed in. Doing drills throughout one of your swim workouts each week can help maintain your form, even at the end of a swim when you are starting to get tired.
This workout will take you longer than the same distance on a speed work day because drills aren’t fast. Focus on excellent form and using the drill to help improve your arm/leg/head position and not on how fast you do a lap. With that, there are no sendoff times or goal times.
This week, we will focus on your stroke and leave the kick out of it. If you have a pull buoy handy, this will help keep you streamline (your legs up) while allowing you to focus on your arms.
200 yards normal swim.
100 yards fast - work out the kinks
5x 200 yards - 50 drill, 50 focus
(For a longer workout, 2 x through)
Each 200, choose one drill. During the drill 50, try to get the drill perfect. Don’t go for speed. On the next 50, go back to a normal swim speed but focus on the part the drill was trying to correct. Return to the drill and repeat. Then move on to the next drill.
Drill 1 - Catch Up
This one is for glide. Leave your arm out and gliding until your other arm comes around and enters the water. Before initiating the pull, both arms should be out in front of you.
Drill 2 - Eyes up entry
Look up. Look at your hand entering the water, look at where it enters and where it is going. Crossing over - Does your hand cross the center line? It shouldn’t. If you see it crossing over, try to correct and get it to make a straight line from point of entry to the wall in front of you. Crossing over slows you down. Depth - Does it stay at the top of the water? Does it go all the way down below you? The ideal depth is right around one foot to 18”.
Drill 3 - Bubble Free Entry
Try to get your hand and arm in the water without any bubbles. This one is for a smooth entry. Lift your head position slightly and watch your hand come in the water. If you do get bubbles, glide them away before starting your other hand. You can image there is a circle about a foot from the top of your head that you have to slide your entire hand and arm through in order to get in free of bubbles.
Drill 4 - Wrist, Elbow, Pull
Segmented stroke. Many people have a straight arm stroke. For this drill, we really segment the stroke to try and get you to a better arm position. Start at the pool edge. Place your hands on the gutter and push yourself up out of the pool. Notice where you put your hands for the most strength. Notice the bend in your elbows. This is a similar position to what we want underwater. You want to push the water back behind you. At the end of the glide, bend your wrist. Get it to 90°. Next, bend your elbow. Get it to 90°. Now start your pull and keep your forearm and hand parallel to the back wall until your hip. Bring it around and then start the other side. When you first try this drill, there can be some sinking. Grab a pull buoy so you can go nice and slow. Your wrist starts at 90° flexed but ends completely extended if you are keeping that hand parallel to the wall all the way through.
Drill 5 - Fist Swimming
Close your hand into a fist, nice and tight. Swimming without the surface area of your hand will force you to use your forearm to move forward in the water. Turns out, your forearm has a lot more surface area than your hand. Remember to get a good 90° elbow bend like you just practiced with drill 4.
There are many more drills you can incorporate into your routine, have a look online for more.
100 yards fast - try to un-segment and swim with great form.
100-200 easy with EXCELLENT form.
Keller, one of the youngest in the junior category, placed 17th overall at USAT junior nationals!! He is 15, USAT age 16, racing in the 16-19 age group.